Gov. Tim Walz recently ordered two special elections to fill vacancies in Minnesota House Districts 30A and 60A before the 2020 legislative session kicks off.
Both elections are scheduled for February 4, 2020 and candidates must file their affidavits of candidacy and nominating petitions between December 3 and December 10.
The District 60A seat in northeast Minneapolis opened up after the passing of Rep. Diane Loeffler (DFL-Minneapolis), who represented the district since 2004 and died earlier this month at the age of 66 after a battle with cancer.
“Gwen and I send our deepest sympathies to the friends, family, and loved ones of Rep. Loeffler. She exemplified servant leadership throughout her 15 years serving in the Minnesota House. She was a fierce advocate for her community, and will truly be missed,” Walz said in a statement after her passing.
The District 30A seat will open up after Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River) officially retires on December 6. The four-term Republican announced his resignation Monday, saying a “recent heart surgery brought info focus the need to spend as much time as I can with my wife and three-year-old son and spend my prime working years providing the best possible life for my family.”
“For the last 13 years it has been the honor of my lifetime to serve my neighbors in Elk River on the city council and the state legislature,” he said in a statement. “It is not easy leaving a job that I absolutely love, but I’m able to depart on my own terms with no regrets and with optimism for what lies ahead. I want to thank my parents, my brothers, my wife Bette and my son for being unbelievably supportive of my service in the legislature.”
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown), who has served alongside Zerwas since he was elected in 2012, said Zerwas has a “list of accomplishments that have made Minnesota a better place.”
“From the Right-to-Try Act that earned him national recognition and a visit to the White House, to his bipartisan work to reform solitary confinement laws, he has earned respect on both sides of the aisle, and we will miss his humor and wit,” Daudt said in a statement. “I know this was a difficult choice, but he’s making the best decision for him and his family and we wish him nothing but the best as he moves on to the next chapter.”
Paul Novotny, a veteran of the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, announced the same day that he will seek the Republican endorsement to fill Zerwas’ seat.
“Representative Zerwas has been a great leader and spokesman for the conservative values of our community,” Novotny said. “As Rep. Zerwas moves on to the next phase of his life, he leaves a void that I am seeking to fill and eager and ready to continue the work.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Minnesota House of Chamber” by Chris Gaukel. CC BY-SA 2.0.